Communication Design, Undergraduate


GD USA Top Design School badge for 2022Program Entry Information

Here you will learn about the College of Visual Arts and Design programs that lead to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design and the curriculum that is a three-and-a-half-year sequence of studio coursework. The College of Visual Arts and Design at UNT is designated a 2023 Top Design School by Graphic Design U.S.A.

Two Concentrations

The Communication Design degree program is a part of the Design Department in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. Our program produces influential conceptual thinkers and creative problem-solvers in the following separate concentrations of study.

1) Graphic Design and
2) User-Experience Design 

Students who intend to pursue an undergraduate degree in Communication Design will be classified first as a Pre-Major for the program when admitted to UNT.

Two-stage Program Entry Information

The following information describes the two-part process to enter the Communication Design concentrations in Graphic Design and User-Experience Design; students may follow the two-part process for one of the concentrations.

Stage 1: Candidacy Review in the Fall — usually late November
Stage 2: Entry-Portfolio Review in the Spring — usually early May

Prerequisites: To submit for the Candidacy Review in the fall, students are required to have completed, with a grade of ‘C’ or better, or be currently enrolled in at least two of the courses that comprise the CVAD Foundations program – ART 1600, ART 1700, Art 1800 and Art 1900, or their accepted equivalents from other institutions of higher education.

Graphic Design Candidacy Review & Entry-Portfolio Review

User-Experience Design Candidacy Review & Entry-Portfolio Review 

1. Graphic Design Concentration • Suggested Curriculum

In the graphic design coursework, students learn to use the basic principles of design and design thinking. They also progress to learn image making, color theory and typography as they create various visual communications.

Students who complete the graphic design concentration will gain the ability to

  • Generate original, creative messages and ideas
  • Develop a professional portfolio to submit to potential employers

Students, you will

  • Gain a solid foundation in critical thinking, teamwork, technology and craft
  • Be able to identify problems and develop innovative, creative solutions for businesses, communities and culture
  • Obtain the preparation for careers on the global stage or in local markets

At CVAD, we change lives so you can change the world. 

2. User-Experience Design Concentration • Suggested Curriculum 

In the user-experience design coursework, students will learn how to account for the wants and needs of potential users and audiences as they design new ways to make a broad range of technologies easier for people to use. It’s important to understand that user-experience designers do more than merely design and implement digital interfaces. Students who complete the user-experience design will be well-prepared to

  • Embark on creative careers that allow them to create,
  • Implement and sustain effective and
  • Valuable products, services and systems.

The B.F.A. in Communication Design develops designers who are conceptual thinkers, creative problem solvers and socially responsible citizens. Our graduates are regularly recognized in national and international design competitions and have a high placement rate at top design, interactive and advertising firms nationwide.

The Communication Design curriculum introduces students to the principles of design, image-making, color theory, typography and research, giving direct experience with traditional applications, such as logos and branding, publications, packaging, and advertising, as well as digital applications, such as mobile applications, websites and product interfaces. Students are prepared for professional practice through studio courses and professional internships.

Pre-Major and Major Status

When admitted to UNT, an entering student interested in an undergraduate degree in Communication Design is classified first as a "pre-major" for the Communication Design program. To be admitted to the Communication Design major and eligible to enroll in advanced art courses, a pre-major student must meet all of the following requirements.

Pre-majors must have completed a minimum of 30 hours of college courses with a grade of C or better and

ART 1600 - Foundations: Perception and Translation
ART 1700 - Foundations: Space (Physical, Temporal and Virtual)
ART 1800 - Foundations: Narrative and Representation
ART 1900 - Foundations: Systems and Transformations
ADES 1500 - Introduction to Communication Design

Specific additional requirements follow for each concentration.

Graphic Design
ADES 1540 - Foundations for Communication Design

User-Experience Design
ADES 1543 - Foundations of User-Centered Design

GPA requirements
Have at least a 2.75 GPA on required art courses.
Have a minimum of 2.25 UNT grade point average.

Entry-Portfolio Reviews
Entry-Portfolio Review: After completing ADES 1500, students submit a portfolio to the Communication Design Candidacy Review each fall toward the end of the semester.
Students are then selected to begin their concentration path for freshman spring design classes.

Entry-Portfolio Review: After completing ADES 1540, students submit a portfolio and pass the specific concentration Entry-Portfolio review.

A degree plan will be processed only after successfully meeting these requirements to convert the student's status from a pre-major to a Communication Design major.

Application Process and Program Information

Once you have applied for admission to the university, you may apply for either or both of the Communication Design concentrations. Still, you will be selected into only a single concentration.

Application instructions and required worksheets

  • Suggested Undergraduate Curriculum for Communication Design — available in the Quick Links on this page
  • Technology Requirements
  • Graphic Design Program Instructions
  • Graphic Design Worksheets
  • User-Experience Design Program Instructions
  • User-Experience Design Worksheets

Please read the Graphic Design Concentration Instructions and the User-Experience Design Concentration Instructions carefully.

New due dates will be posted upon availability.


Students submit to the Candidacy Review in the fall — usually in November. The Candidacy Review is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of about 50 percent.

Each student must participate in the Entry-Portfolio Review at the end of the freshman year. This review selects students with the appropriate proficiency necessary to continue in the program. The Entry-Portfolio Review is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of about 65%.

After a student is accepted into the Communications Design Program:

The sophomore year introduces basic communication design skills, such as typography, color theory, image-making, design thinking, software proficiency, and creative methodologies for problem-solving. 

The junior year offers a variety of classes featuring different design experiences in graphic design and art direction; publication design, such as magazines and annual reports; interactive design, such as motion graphics design and web/interface design; and a menu of other specialized course offerings.

The senior year comprises an involved set of classes dedicated to helping students hone conceptual and design skills and preparing a final competitive portfolio. Additionally, students are encouraged to take advantage of an internship course for the experience in the summer between their junior and senior years.

At the end of the undergraduate program, our students should be able to identify problems successfully, develop robust, appropriate conceptual strategies for specific target audiences, and implement, design and produce those concepts in a manner that effectively communicates to an intended audience.

THECB Marketable Skills

Marketable skills include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas valued by employers and are primary or complementary to a major. The marketable skills goal was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers. By the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requirements, UNT has identified the marketable skills for all of its degree programs.

B.F.A. Communication Design Skills

  1. Design principle implementation
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Design process facilitation
  4. Technology/software implementation
  5. Professional design communication  

Technology Requirements

While purchasing a Mac is not required, all Communication Design majors at the UNT College of Visual Arts and Design must purchase or have hardware and software that meets these specifications.

Important Note: We do not recommend purchasing expensive hardware before acceptance into your concentration. 


The following Apple Macintosh computer* configuration is recommended for purchase for Communication Design majors enrolled in UNT College of Visual Arts and Design.
Laptop: 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, 1920 x 1080 or greater — if you can afford a 16-inch MacBook Pro, you should purchase that size.

Processor: Apple Silicon M1 or newer (minimum)**
Memory: 16GB of unified memory**
Storage: Fast internal SSD for app installation and cache, additional high-speed drive for media**
Extended Warranty: AppleCare Protection Plan***

*The Apple Macintosh is the computer most often used in the graphic design and advertising professions. It’s possible, though not recommended, to use a similarly configured PC.
** It may be advantageous if you can afford to add a larger hard drive, more memory, or a larger processor.
** AppleCare extends the warranty and may be able to cover your computer for most of your time at UNT. 


The following software** should be configured to run on any computer regularly used by Communication Design majors enrolled in UNT College of Visual Arts and Design.

Adobe Creative Cloud Purchase Information
Microsoft Office for Mac: Free for currently enrolled students through Administrative IT Services

Suitcase Fusion 8: $59.95, Journey Ed EDU Techstore
** Student discounts are available directly through:

Contact Information

Future undergraduate students: Apply to UNT; you will meet with an academic advisor during orientation. You also may contact CVAD Recruiter Kevin Contreras,, for more information.

Currently enrolled undergraduate students: Contact an advisor through the CVAD Undergraduate Advising web page.

Department of Design: 940-565-3621,, Art Building, Room 230.